Lexington to DFW - Part 3
(An Uncertain Trip in Search of Waldo)
Feb. 27, 2010
by David "Sumoflam" Kravetz
Feb 27, 2010: Time to return home to Lexington. It was a long busy week in Dallas. But the trip home would promise to be an interesting and fun day. I left Keller fairly early so I could hit the sunrise as I drove east. I almost made it to Tyler by sunrise. I pulled off the road and made an effort to get some nice shots before traveling further.
The early morning fog added to the intensity of this sunrise.
This is a map of my trip back home via Uncertain, TX, Vivian and Rodessa, LA and Waldo, AR
After the sunrise I was back on the road to Uncertain. I was bound and determined to find Uncertain. Indeed, I was certain I would get to Uncertain. Heading east on I-20 I had to take Exit 604 and head north on FM 450 towards Hallsville, TX. Once in Hallsville, I turned right on US 80 and continued east through Marshall, TX to US 59. I went north for a mile or so to TX 43 and continued NE. I stayed on course until I got to FM 2198. I then turned right and a few miles up the road there it was...my first sight:
Indeed, there is such a place as Uncertain and it certainly is in Texas
Uncertain is a village with an unusual name and it is located in an unusual place along the shores of Caddo Lake not too far from the Louisiana border. The town has taken advantage of the name and even has their own website. They call it "The City of Uncertain" (incorporated in 1961) but it is much more a small village, and many of the businesses appeared to me to be seasonal. There are apparently a number of purported reasons for the name but it appears that the most popular theory is the one that says -- "once you get to Caddo you're uncertain as to exactly where you are -- and uncertain as to exactly when you'll want to leave. One thing is for sure, you don't go to Uncertain by Chance! It's one way in and one way out" and I am certain of that since I drove the only roads. I arrived in February so it was still chilly. But, there was a lot of "fun" there. Here are a few of the signs I found around town:
Many "Uncertain" things, but at the non-denominational Church of Uncertain they have a motto:
"Where We Are Certain About Christ"
There is even an Uncertain Tourist Department (if you can call it that):
Uncertain, TX Tourism Department
Despite the draw of the name, the REAL draw to Uncertain is the scenery. Uncertain is on the shores of eerie, yet picturesque Lake Caddo, which stretches across the Texas-Louisiana border. The lake is filled with bald cypress trees that are draped and decorated with Spanish Moss. When I first looked at it I wondered if I might see the "Swamp Thing" and sure enough, there is even a sign for that!!
There is a Swamp Thing sign as well as a Bigfoot Retreat. Fortunately, I saw neither!!
Many claim that Caddo has been dubbed the "best photo spot in Texas." Though some may question it, I certainly thought it to be one of the more interesting spots I have ever visited across these great United States. I took over 100 photos of the lake/swamp/bayou and even went beyond my normal routine and fiddled with some color settings in some of them to really make it interesting. Here are a number of photos of Lake Caddo, which covers over 32,000 acres of channels, bayous and sloughs. I can imagine it would get pretty spooky late at night in mid-summer with the alligators swimming around and Swamp Things and Sasquatch waiting for you around each bend....
Watch out for the gators!!!
Even along some of the narrow roadways one can find some interesting shots:
Fishing is apparently a big thing here...bass and crappy apparently. On this cool early morning I caught a glimpse of a few folk heading out into the spooky calm waters of Lake Caddo, all wrapped and warm:
And here are a couple more scenes in case you haven't gotten enough. These are from the Louisiana side:
One final scene of Lake Caddo, near Pelican Bay Resort in Louisiana
In the area there were also a few "Uncertain" treasures -- unique photo-ops:
"The Shipwreck" is one of the "Hodge Podge Cottages", which are a variety of little cabins, trailers and yes, the Shipwreck. Pelican statues also frequent the area as do the actual birds. Unfortunately, on this cool February morning, I was not able to see any of the real birds.
OK...the world's largest fake Tomato Soup can? Its uncertain....
RoadsideAmerica.com are you watching?
All good things must end and for me, with still a long drive back to Kentucky, I left the realm of Uncertain-ty and headed east, driving around the northern part of Caddo Lake and then north up the backroads of of the northwest corner of Louisiana. From Uncertain I headed north on Texas 43 and then east on Texas 49 into Louisiana and over the northern leg of the lake. This took me to LA 1 towards the small town of Vivian. As with other towns on the trip, this one has a little significance to my job as I have dealt with North Caddo High School a few times over the phone in my work with iHigh.com. And, of course, I drove right by the school on my way north. The town was originally settled as a railroad stop and currently has a population of a little over 4000. It is typical of many small towns where poverty has hit. But, it is a clean town and has some originality.
Colorful wall murals found in Vivian, LA
Continuing north I drove along Black Bayou Lake and then passed through the small town of Rodessa. And yes, I had a purpose. What is it that draws someone to a small little town in NW Louisiana? Two strange frog statues atop pillars with Alabama and Georgia on them and a name...Frog Level. Though the frogs are not really fancy artwork, apparently, the Smithsonian has these catalogued. As the sign below notes, in the 1800s a town meeting was called by store owner Noah Tyson to name the town. Apparently, a man from Alabama, noting the frogs hollering in a nearby pond, jumped up and said "Let's name it Frog Level." And so it was. Later the town's name was changed to Rodessa. The frogs were made by a guy named Buster Dunn and the monument, dedicated in 1976, was fabricated by the Fix-It-Well Company. I do wonder what the Georgia pillar is for. There really is no mention...
"Frog Level" Monument in Rodessa, LA...true Americana and recognized by the Smithsonian
After seeing (and actually hearing) the frogs at Frog Level, it was back on the road. My next goal was to search for the whereabouts of Waldo. Many have spent hours doing "Where's Waldo" puzzles, in search of the elusive beany topped thing guy with a red/white striped shirt. I even admit to have joined in the fascination many years ago. So, as I drove along the road home to Kentucky, I learned that Waldo might be in Arkansas. I went in search of AND finally found Waldo!!
I found Waldo...he's in Arkansas!!
(Well, actually Waldo is also in Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, Alabama, Wisconsin and Ohio)
From Waldo I really needed to push to get home at a decent very late hour, so from there it was back on freeways to Kentucky. But, despite the visit to Uncertain, it was most certainly an eventful 17 hours.
An ice cream shop along the road...
somewhere in Arkansas
Yes, I finally did see a pelican too...in Arkansas.
If you missed Part 1, "Seeking out the Bugtussles of America", click the link
Part 2, "A Week in the Dallas Area" is here.
Some roadside guidance provided by......
See more of Sumoflam's Trip Journals